Interview with Pete Francis: Wading In An Iron Sea

You were once signed to Hollywood Records. Can you explain your experience with major labels?

What I felt is that it’s not the most smooth-working machine. Within the company, there were decisions that weren’t made quickly enough. They would always go with the same approach of sort of taking a song, and if it didn’t work on radio, then the record didn’t really work.

I can do my gigs on my own and I don’t need a larger company that’s going to slow me down, so I chose to own my masters and continue to work on my music and with my company, Scrapper Records.

What were some of the difficulties you encountered switching from a band member to a solo artist?

Initially, I approached some problems with people saying, ‘This isn’t Dispatch.’ It was a little tricky because it’s sort of like ‘This was Pete in Dispatch, now this is Pete on his own.’ People were probably a bit tentative because it wasn’t what they were used to hearing.

Several reviews of your solo albums begin with ‘While I was never a fan of Dispatch…’ but go on to praise your solo work. How do you feel about having created a sound so distant from that of dispatch?

I’m psyched about that because that was the goal of doing my own thing. I didn’t set out to not sound like Dispatch. I just set out to make my own records. It’s kind of the next development of how I work as an artist. If I had just created music that sounded like Dispatch, I don’t think I would have grown.

In another interview, you described Iron Sea And The Cavalry as a ‘journey’ of songs. Could you elaborate on that?

I know that today’s world is a lot about downloading songs, but I’m still a big fan of making a record feel cohesive from the beginning to the end. While making songs, I would think, ‘How would this find a good order?’

‘Johnny Ocho’s Lullaby’ is a good way to invite people in to check out the record, and then move into a story that is kind of about somebody recognizing difficulties in life, then going through that and understanding, then coming out at the end feeling a lot of those difficult issues being resolved.